Thursday, February 25, 2010

Great news!

I just found out tonight that I won Virginia Tech's Graduate Student Service Excellence Award. I was having somewhat of a terrible day, because I've been sick all week. Combine that with writing my farewell speech for Miss Hill City and packing for that, I've been bummed out! I'm really going to miss hanging out with my committee and all the special work I did as Miss Hill City (which is part of the reason I won this award).

And just to show that this system is not just about competing, one of my nominators for this award was Stephanie Connelly, a fantastic contestant and fellow VT student.

I'll be recognized at an award ceremony with March and I am receiving $1,000 for this special honor! What a great turnaround to this day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

I'm almost a "has-been"!

The weekend after this, I'll be giving up my second (and final) title in the Miss America program, Miss Hill City. Even though some people might think it's sad, it's exciting that another young woman is about to embark on a special year, one of the highlights being the Miss Virginia pageant in June.

Certainly it's been very special to be a part of Miss Virginia. Our reigning Miss Virginia just won Miss America and Virginia has a legacy of crowning talented, intelligent, gorgeous young women who make the most of the title and represent us well at Miss America. For now, I'm content to continue cheering on some of my favorite people I've met competing. Some people say it's not real for people "competing" against one another to get along well or form friendships, but go ahead and tell that to some of the girls I've gotten to know and love over the past two years. These women are incredible, and I wish them all the best of luck at Miss Virginia in June.

I'll blog again one more time before leaving next weekend to give up the title, but I wanted to take another opportunity to thank everyone for standing behind me during my quest to be Miss Virginia. It didn't happen for me, and that's okay. It wasn't in God's plan for me and I feel good about that. In the last several months, my true passions have become clear and I look forward to my future.

Whether I compete in any more pageants or not, I plan to move valiantly forward representing my platform (Breaking the Silence: Domestic Violence Awareness). I'm already incorporating it in my research (thesis and otherwise) and I know that my upcoming move to Maryland will present me with even more opportunities to remain involved in a new state with new people. I love interacting especially with kids and will continue to do that.

On that note, I have to be up early for a day-long Girl Scout event tomorrow, so I'm off!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Why I love the Olympics

Every two years, I tune in to watch the world's finest athletes do their thing in front of millions of people, hoping to deliver the performance of a lifetime.

Now, I'm not interested in sports generally- I didn't even know who won the super bowl until I logged into Yahoo the next morning. But there's something about the Olympics that's different. The athletes seem more humble. Their skill seems incredible. And it's a rallying cry to support your favorite athletes. I have personal favorites for both the summer and winter olympics, making it fun to watch every two years. In the summer I cheer loudest for Phil Dalhausser, a 6'9 beach volleyball player called the "thin beast" who basically stands at the net and smacks the ball back over. In the winter, I watch my favorite athlete, Apolo Anton Ohno, speedskate.

There's something rhythmic and yoga-like about speedskating. The graceful movements, the split-second movement between skaters, and the avoidance of the inevitable crashes. Ohno has now become the most decorated winter olympian, and with good reason. What I love about Ohno is that he's always so down to earth. It's a refreshing change from the "I'm so amazing" football, basketball and baseball players of today who make FAR too much money and inevitably ruin their careers in my eyes with bad choices (Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods- role model, anyone?)

Last night's skating program added a new favorite to my category- Evan Lycasek. What graceful movements. Even in light of being slammed by the Russian skater who just edged him out after the short program, Evan remained calm.

More favorites? Shaun White. This kid is ridiculous. He's one of the few men I've ever seen able to rock curly red hair - and avoid the Carrot Top look- and he used a private half pipe to prepare for the olympics. You can bet his presentation is going to be incredible. On that note, I'm a little worn down of people ripping down these athletes. You could see the disappointment of the Russian coaches when two of their men took tumbles in pairs. Poor Lindsay Jacobellis took a spill during the snowboardcross just four years after she celebrated a little too early and lost the Gold. Snowboarding- and most sports- are hard. Athletes make mistakes just like anyone else.

I feel like I'll support these athletes whether they fall or fail because I expect more out of them morally. There's something redeeming about a Johnny Weir standing up for who he is or a Shawn Johnson being a genuine person. Why don't we expect this out of our non-olympic athletes? We're also willing to write it off in our politicians. So I say, cut them a break. These athletes are real people! And they're pretty impressive!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Day

I hope everyone had a great weekend and enjoyed Valentine's Day. My boyfriend went above and beyond- we went to the Greenbrier in West Virginia! This is a special place for us because he took me on a very sweet date there over the summer and I was blown away by how nice it was. So we traveled back there to bowl, enjoy chocolate, swim, and have a great dinner! It was a wonderful experience :)

Friday, February 12, 2010

Miss Lynchburg

I wanted to reach out one more time and encourage any more possible contestants to compete for Miss Hill City and Lynchburg at the end of this month. I'm sure my farewell will be teary and I'll make another post to recap the last year later towards the pageant, but I cannot say enough positive things about this pageant. The crew is organized, and they were incredible helping me get ready for Miss Virginia. The whole committee will believe in you and do whatever they can to make you feel like the best version of you is headed to Roanoke.

If you are a potential contestant and have ANY questions about my year as Miss Hill City, please send an email to

Whoever wins this pageant has a great opportunity ahead of them and I will be happy to answer any questions if you're thinking about competing (several other girls have already reached out to ask questions, so please don't be afraid to email!)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

College senior weighs in on Miss America... and other news

My google alerts have been flush lately with news articles about our new Miss America and the pageant in general. Here are a few favorites:

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Miss Mountain Empire

Here are the results that we were able to write down:

Preteen ME: Gallienne Gilmer Hack
Lonesome Pine Preteen: Zoe Low

ME Teen: Anna Hubbard (talent)
LP Teen: Lauren Faulkner


Interview: Misti C.
Talent: Misti C.
EG: Misti C.
Community Service: Samantha McReynolds
SS: Nancy Nguyen
People's Choice: Brooke Saurbeer
Congeniality: Alisha Evans and Misti C.

4th: Alisha Evans
3rd: Nancy Nguyen
2nd: Samantha M.
1st: Brooke Saurbeer
Miss ME: Misti C

Here are a few pictures !

Friday, February 5, 2010

Miss ME

Tomorrow night five girls will be competing for the title of Miss Mountain Empire.

The weather was fine from about an hour away on in. It was TERRIBLE before that and I was grateful we were in a car that could handle the snow and driving with someone who used to live in Maine. If you're in this local area, please come out!

The contestants are:

Alishia Evans
Misti Caviness
Nancy Nguyen
Samantha McReyolds
Brooke Sourbeer

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Miss Mountain Empire!

John and I are leaving early Friday in the Hummer to try to beat the snow as much as possible. That way we have plenty of time to make it to Abingdon, and once I'm there, I'll just stay until Sunday morning!

The hotel is supposed to have free wireless so I'll post results and pictures once I get them. In the meantime, I'll be working on my thesis from Abingdon in my down time. Good luck to all the ladies competing, and thanks to the great sponsor of Quality Inn for the hotel room!

We are hoping to make a stop at the Harvest Table restaurant, where I visited on a college trip to learn about local and organic food. HT serves local and seasonal food from the area, and last time I was there, it was excellent!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Meet your new Miss Virginia...

Chinah Helmandollar!

New Miss America

A huge congrats to Caressa Cameron, the new Miss America! I knew she would win.

We have no official word yet on the new Miss Virginia! I do know, however, that several runners-up have declined the position.